Latest Amazon Reviews

Hooray! Only one review away from the magical 50 reviews on Amazon.

If you’ve read War Bonds: Love Stories from the Greatest Generation  and haven’t yet posted an Amazon review, would you consider becoming reviewer #50? It’s painless and simple. Thanks so much to all who’ve already taken the time to share your thoughts!

Compelling Stories from the Greatest Generation

on January 4, 2017
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I am not much of a reader. I found the stories compelling and the writers compassion for her subjects comes through in her thoughtful style of writing. Love, we sure need more of it these days and this books delivers that for sure.
 5out of 5 starsthe beautiful couple on the cover of War Bonds

on March 27, 2017
There’s a reason they are called the “Greatest Generation”. Couples from this generation endured unimaginable hardships and heartache, yet they remained strong and persevered. I’m so grateful to Cindy for capturing these legacy stories in her book so that future generations can look back at this generation for guidance and inspiration, and read some of the stories that earned them their name, the “Greatest Generation”. On a personal note, I am the proud granddaughter of Roy and Mary Grayhek, the beautiful couple on the cover of War Bonds, and their story is featured in the book, too. My grandparents were so honored to have their story shared, and this book has made its way into four generations of our family, and we look forward to sharing it with many generations to come. Thank you, Cindy, you have given us a precious gift.
on April 8, 2017
I first read a story by Cindy Hval in one of the “Chicken Soup…” series. It drew me to this book. I loved this book and all the wonderful stories. I love history. I love true love. ❤
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Happy 2nd birthday War Bonds!

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Two years ago today, I was humbled and amazed by the turnout for the launch of my first book.

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In the five years it took to write and publish War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation, I lost so many of the couples featured. It broke my heart that some weren’t there to see their stories in print.

In the two years since publication, I’ve lost several more. Each death leaves an ache in my heart.

Yet at the front row of the book launch party many of my War Bonds couples were present as well as widows and widowers. They were in awe of the size of the crowd and watched with joy as every single copy of War Bonds sold out at Auntie’s Bookstore.

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I’ve learned a lot about publishing, publicity, book tours and public speaking over the last two years– knowledge I know will serve me well when my next book  comes out.

Today I’m still somewhat disbelieving that War Bonds is on bookshelves, in libraries and for sale in bookstores all over the world.

I’m so thankful for those who stood with me during the long journey from idea to pub party.

Thankful for readers who bought the book, read the book, reviewed the book and recommended it to others.

Thankful for bookstore owners, civic groups and organizations who invited me to share the message that true love can survive anything– even a world war.

But more than anything I’m thankful for my War Bonds family. They opened their hearts, homes and lives to me and allowed me to poke around. Then they trusted me to share their stories with the world.

What a journey.

What a blessing.

What a privilege.

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War Bonds helped kids go to camp

You never know where your book will end up.

Today I got a note from a reader who purchased a copy of War Bonds to donate to her church auction.

“Spokane Valley United Methodist Church raised enough money to send 35 children to camp, including some from Hearth Homes and Family Promise who were homeless,” she wrote. “Your book was part of making that happen.”

That’s something that would delight each of the 36 couples in War Bonds as much as it delights me.

Books can make a difference in the most unexpectedly wonderful ways!

Young War Bonds reader

The house that love built

The other night I had a reading/signing event at Touchmark Retirement Community.

An employee approached me and said while she hadn’t read War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation, her daughter had.

It seems her daughter and her husband were looking for home and found one they really wanted in Millwood, WA.

“It wasn’t the house so much, it was what they felt when they were inside it,” the woman said. “There was such love in that house.”

A neighbor chatted with them and told them the couple who had lived there had built the house and had been married for more than 70 years.

“Their story is in a book,” he said.

Alas, the couple didn’t get the house, but they did buy a copy of War Bonds. And they fell in love with Warren and Betty Schott, just like the rest of us.

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Warren and Betty on their 75th anniversary

 

Things no one tells you before you write a book: hazards of grocery shopping

I was hot, sweaty and tired after a long afternoon of writing followed by a brisk three-mile walk, but someone has to buy the groceries for my family and that someone is me.

Wearing my favorite emoticon-covered work-out tank and some scruffy shorts, I hopped into the car. I thought about running a brush through my hair, but it was  windy day. Why bother?
I thought about slapping some make-up on, but why would I do that when I just needed a few things from the store?

You know where this is going don’t you?

While I was selecting some Walla Walla sweet onions, a woman near me said, “I like your shirt.” I smiled and thanked her.

That’s when she said, “Oh my gosh! Are you Cindy Hval? Did you write that book of love stories from World War II?”

When I nodded. She grabbed the guy stocking produce and gushed, “Do you know who this is?” And said some very lovely and kind things about War Bonds.

Of course, the produce guy wanted to know more. And then he said, “Hey! I DO know who you are, I read your column in the Spokesman Review!”

There’s a moral here. There’s a lesson to be learned.

For me it’s this: I can’t go grocery shopping anymore, ever again.
The end.

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Magic, Make-Believe and Me

In this column for the Spokesman Review, I address the importance of keeping magic and make=believe alive for our children– especially now.

I was smiling as we walked out of the movie theater into the warm summer night.

“That was absolutely magical,” I said.

My sons, 16 and 21, nodded, but they didn’t seem as enthralled by “The BFG” as I’d been. The movie, based on the book by Roald Dahl, tells the story of an unlikely friendship between an orphan girl named Sophie and the Big Friendly Giant. The two join forces to rid the world of mean, nasty giants.

I loved the retelling. It brought back memories of curling up and reading the book with my second son, who was notoriously difficult to get to sit still and read anything at all. Dahl’s books were just scary enough and just off-kilter enough to capture his imagination and still his ever-churning legs.

 The week before, we’d seen “Finding Dory,” and both sons preferred that movie to “The BFG.”

Not me. While “Dory” was a fun film with great visual elements, humor and a compelling message, it lacked the heart of “The BFG.” It lacked magic.

For me, the best part about being a parent has been the ongoing permission to indulge in my love of make-believe. From sharing beloved childhood favorite films and books with my boys to discovering new stories and new adventures with them, parenthood has allowed me to retain a bit of the ability to believe in the impossible.

Perhaps that’s why I reacted so strongly when my youngest got in the car one day after kindergarten and announced, “There’s no such thing as Santa Claus.”

Furious, I whipped around and gave his older brothers the “look” – you know the scary glare meant to stop even the naughtiest child in their tracks. My offspring have dubbed it “Mom’s Death Ray.”

“Don’t look at us!” said Zack, then 11, “We know Santa is real!”

Taking a deep breath, I asked, “Why do you say that, Sam?”

“Tyler’s mom helped us with Christmas crafts today, and we were talking about what we wanted Santa to bring us for Christmas. She said, ‘Santa Claus is a made-up character, and he doesn’t take presents to children all over the world.’ Is she right? Is there really no such thing as Santa?”

I looked into his troubled blue eyes and tried to gauge his desire to know with his longing to believe.

So, I reminded Sam of the story of St. Nicholas and how he used his wealth to give to the poor and needy. I told him the story of Santa Claus came from St. Nicholas’ and asked him what he thought.

He scratched his head, looked at his brothers and then replied, “Oh, he’s real all right, but I think he has help getting all those presents delivered.”

Crisis averted. Magic preserved.

I know not all parents agree that a healthy dose of make-believe makes for a happy childhood. For instance, one of my sons told me of a millennial parent in his acquaintance who told him that allowing his preschoolers to believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy is the same as lying to them, and he will never lie to his kids.

But children are not miniature adults. The brain, body and emotions of a 5-year-old boy are not equivalent to those of a 30-year-old man. Fairy tales and make-believe allow imaginations to soar. They create a sense of wonder and possibility.

These past few weeks have made it difficult for many of us to hold onto any sense of hope, wonder and enchantment. The world can be a harsh, unlovely place. Maybe that’s why we need stories of magic and mystery all the more.

In a darkened theater we can watch a blue fish with memory problems cross the ocean to find her family, or see a little girl have tea with the queen of England and help banish evil giants from the land.

Stories offer us a respite from ugly reality and fan the flames of flagging faith, encouraging us to believe in the unbelievable, at least for a little while.

Contact Cindy Hval at dchval@juno.com. She is the author of “War Bonds: Love Stories From the Greatest Generation.” Her previous columns are available online at spokesman.com/ columnists. Follow her on Twitter at @CindyHval.

A Bookshelf of Our Own

Running my hands along the spines, I can scarcely believe it– 14 books featuring my stories.

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From the first time a writer picks up a pen or pounds out a story on a keyboard we wonder if it will ever be read by more than just a family member, close friend or teacher. Rarely in love with our own words, we weigh, sift, edit and groan over balky transitions and awkward phrases. We look back at our first stories and they sometimes seem like primitive scratches in the sand.

And if we’re really lucky, we find our tribe– a group of supportive readers and writers, who push us to do better and who ask for more

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And we celebrate their publications, adding their books to our shelves, always leaving room for the next volume.

How wonderful to take a moment and realize no matter how arduous the journey from idea to print, it is possible to achieve out what every writer longs for– a shelf of our own.

Reading in the Hundred Acre Wood

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Spent a delightful evening at Barnes & Noble last night. I was joined by fabulous poet Zan Agzigian and amazing blues/jazz songstress Heather Villa for an evening of poetry, prose and song.

The reading was held in the children’s area of the store because that’s where they have the stage, so it was fun to read from Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood!

In addition to reading from War Bonds, I shared a portion of my work-in-progress, and the reception was warm and enthusiastic. A much-needed boost in the slow-going labor of writing my next book.

Even more fun was having my youngest son, 16-year-old Sam, in the audience.
“I love to hear you read,” he said. And he snapped the above photo.

At the signing afterward, a woman approached and asked me to sign a copy of War Bonds .

“It’s not my copy,” she explained. “It’s my 17-year-old daughter’s. She’s already read it several times and she often reads the stories aloud to me. She wants she and her fiance to be like the couples in your book, growing old together.”

How cool is that? A teenager who values the stories of the Greatest Generation! Nothing, makes me happier or more hopeful then know these stories are appreciated by the next generation.

 

Impromtu book signing!

A few weeks ago, I got a nice email from a lady in regards to a recent column. I thanked her for her kind note and for taking the time to write to me.

Soon I received another note from her.

“I recently sent you a a brief email thanking you for a particularly good article, and you graciously replied, which made my day!

I was inspired to purchase War Bonds for my 89-year-old mother for Mother’s Day.”

She then asked if it was possible for me to sign the copy for her mom. When I found out the writer lived near the grocery store where I do my weekly shopping, I offered to meet her there and sign the book.

She showed up with a lilac bouquet– my favorite flower.

And that my friends, is how you turn grocery shopping from a chore to a delight.

Never forget, readers make a writer’s world go ’round!

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My favorite type of book buyer

I know authors shouldn’t play favorites, but I confess I do have a favorite type of book buyer.

As I reflect on a year spent reading and signing at bookstores, libraries and civic groups, etc. one type of book buyer never failed to make me smile.

It’s the buyer who says, “I’m going to read a chapter to my husband/wife/partner every night before bed.”

You can’t write a book like War Bonds without being a romantic soul and thinking of my book being shared this way thrills me to the tips of my hot pink toes.

What could be better than knowing the love stories of the Greatest Generation are safe in the hands of new generation of lovers?11001726_10203518846031682_9073187678075970162_n[1]

Reader Jeri Kennedy, Illinois